Didder the Hero in Doubleheader Sweep
MADISON, Alabama – On Hero Night at Toyota Field, Ray-Patrick Didder stole the show in both games to lead the Rocket City Trash Pandas to a doubleheader sweep over the Chattanooga Lookouts by scores of 7-6 and 1-0 on Thursday night. Down 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh of
MADISON, Alabama – On Hero Night at Toyota Field, Ray-Patrick Didder stole the show in both games to lead the Rocket City Trash Pandas to a doubleheader sweep over the Chattanooga Lookouts by scores of 7-6 and 1-0 on Thursday night.
Down 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh of the opener, Mitch Nay hit a slow chopper back to the mound but hustled down the line to beat the play at first for an infield single. Two hitters later, pinch-hitter Michael Cruz walked to put the tying and winning runs on base. With two outs, Didder stepped to the plate crushed the 2-0 pitch from Eddy Demurias into the gap in right-center, scoring pinch-runner Orlando Martinez and Cruz to give the Trash Pandas the thrilling 7-6 walk-off win.
The first game began in promising fashion as the Trash Pandas bashed their way to an early lead. Didder led off with a double to left. Two hitters later, David MacKinnon crushed one over the left field fence with an exit velocity of 108 miles per hour for a two-run home run, his 11th of the season. Izzy Wilson followed with an even more towering 456-foot blast to right that left his bat at 111 miles per hour for his 19th long ball of the year.
The Lookouts got a run back in the second off Trash Pandas starter Davis Daniel. That would be all the Trash Pandas righty gave up. Over a solid start, Daniel allowed just the one run on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He left in line for the victory.
Nay extended the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth with a line-drive two run blast down the left-field line for his Double-A South leading 21st home run of the season.
In the sixth, Rocket City turned to Adrian Almeida out of the bullpen. The lefty struggled, allowing a home run to Wilson Garcia and issuing three walks before departing. A two-base error on MacKinnon allowed two runs to score before a wild pitch and a passed ball plated two more to put the Lookouts ahead off new relief pitcher Nathan Bates.
Bates rebounded to pitch a scoreless seventh, setting the stage for Didder’s dramatic double.
Didder and Nay each recorded two hits and two RBI in the win. Bates (W, 4-0) earned the victory on the mound after giving up an unearned run over two innings.
Following a lengthy rain delay, the second game began with Chattanooga starter Ricky Salinas and Rocket City starter Cristopher Molina each in fine form.
In the third, the Lookouts put a runner on third with one out. Molina worked around it by inducing a ground out from Drew Mount before striking out Garcia to end the threat. An inning later, Cruz threw out Miguel Hernandez trying to steal to get Molina through the frame.
Molina ended his start in the sixth by inducing a fly out from Yanqui to strand the go-ahead run on second base. In a terrific start, Molina threw six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out four.
Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Didder provided the heroics again by lining a solo home run off Salinas 398 feet over the left field fence for his fourth home run of the season.
Connor Higgins (S, 8) entered in the seventh and worked around a one-out walk to finish the win and earn the save.
Didder’s home run was the only extra-base hit by either team in the nightcap to lead the Trash Pandas to their third one-run victory in the first four games of this current seven-game set against Chattanooga.
The Trash Pandas (47-44) continue their series with the Lookouts (43-47) on Friday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio. The game will be televised locally on WAAY-31.6, This TV.